Don't be fooled by the fancy name - this simple manhattan clam chowder is easy to make with canned clams and tomatoes. Chock full of veggies, it's a square meal in a round bowl 🙂
Manhattan Clam Chowder - A Deceivingly Simple Soup
Back in the day, when I was first learning how to cook, I destroyed everything I tried. In fact, I once baked a cake in a teflon soup pot that had plastic handles. When I took the cake out of the oven, I was completely taken by surprise that the handles had melted into the cake batter.
That should give you a sense of where my natural cooking abilities started out.
But there was a day when finally, a recipe turned out. It was a Manhattan Clam Chowder soup from the Canadian Living Magazine circa 2003. That was a damn good bowl of soup. I never forgot it because I had finally made something worth eating.
There has been many successes and failures since that soup, but I’m coming around full circle to share a version of that recipe (to the best of my recollection). The beauty of this soup, much like the shrimp bisque I shared last week, is that it’s a full meal in a bowl. Veggies, proteins and a dash of healthy fats makes this soup a complete meal (if you want it to be), so perfect to heat up for a weeknight supper with some French crusty bread (or even a gooey grilled cheese?).
What’s the difference between Boston, New England and Manhattan Clam Chowder?
Well Boston and New England chowders are one in the same - cream based and really darn good. Manhattan clam chowder is a tomato-based soup, so the flavor is more bold and the calories are a lot less. Back in the day, when I first made Manhattan Clam Chowder, it was because the cream-based was full of fat and fat was the devil in 2003. Now, we know that fats are good and carbs are the troublemakers, so no matter which chowder you choose, you want to keep your potatoes to a minimum and load up on less starchy veggies like spinach, carrots and celery.
How many calories in Clam Chowder?
As I mentioned above, Manhattan clam chowder is a much more calorie-friendly option. At only 160 calories per serving for this recipe, it's perfect for those of you who are watching your waistline. Conversely, New England clam chowder can start around 230 calories for a moderately healthy recipe and go up from there. Those of you on a low carb diet will want to ensure the thick, creamy New England clam chowder you're eating wasn't made with flour! I'm working on a lighter version of this traditional dish, so stay tuned.
What you’ll need to make Manhattan Clam Chowder (+ recommended substitutions)
- A soup pot or dutch oven - this one looks like the pot I melted! RIP, cute pot.
- Olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil of choice). It can always be eliminated if you want to reduce overall calories.
- Onion & garlic (I used minced garlic in a jar because I”m lazy)
- Oregano & basil
- 1 or 2 cans of baby clams (totally up to you, I used one)
- Potatoes (just a little!)
- Canned tomatoes
- Spinach (I use frozen, but feel free to do fresh) (
- Hot sauce (totally optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Want more pescatarian soup options?
Yay! Fish is the best. Try this Shrimp bisque. It also sounds fancy, but it's easy-peasy to make. This simple fish soup is also quick to pull together as a weeknight meal.
Manhattan Clam Chowder - A Simple Tomato Based Seafood Soup
A quick, simple spin on traditional clam chowder using canned clams and tomatoes. This is the perfect mid-week meal with simple pantry items. With lots of protein and veggies, it's also a square meal (in a round bowl).
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup Onion chopped finely
- 1 tsp garlic minced, about 2 cloves 1 tbsp Italian spice
- 14 ounces can baby clams
- 4 cups Veggie or chicken stock
- 2 carrots chopped finely
- 2 celery stalks chopped finely
- 2 small potatoes peeled and diced
- 28 ounces (1 large can) of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped spinach I used frozen
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 dash of hot sauce
- In large pot, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions, garlic, and Italian seasoning, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
- Add the carrots, celery, potatoes and red pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the soup stock, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender.
- Meanwhile, open the can of clams and drain the clam juice into the pot, but not the clams yet!
- Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in reserved clams and spinach; cook just until spinach is wilted and clams are hot. Stir in hot pepper sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1 Bowl
Amount Per Serving Calories 160Total Fat 5gCarbohydrates 16gNet Carbohydrates 14gFiber 2gProtein 14g
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and ADHD Coach. As the founder of The Fit Habit, she shares ADHD-friendly self-care, food & fitness inspiration, along with practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.
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